The right jewelry pieces can add a stunning accent to your attire. However, you must maintain these accessories if you want them to provide the perfect sparkle and shine. You can clean your jewelry at home when it needs a little bit of polishing and dirt removal, but you should take precious pieces to a professional for a more thorough cleaning. Read on to learn more about safely cleaning and caring for your jewelry.
How Do I Clean Gold Jewelry?
Gold is a soft metal, so you should use caution when cleaning gold jewelry. Avoid harsh products like chlorine or stiff-bristled brushes that can scratch the surface of the gold. Follow these steps for a gentle cleaning:
- Fill a bowl with warm (not hot) water and add a few drops of gentle dishwashing soap.
- Place your jewelry in the water and leave it to soak for 20 to 40 minutes.
- Gently pick up the jewelry and use a soft cloth or extra-soft toothbrush to remove debris if needed.
- Rinse the jewelry in lukewarm water. Place the pieces in a strainer if they’re too small to rinse by hand easily. You should plug the drain as well to keep pieces from accidentally falling in.
- Lay your jewelry on a clean, soft cloth to dry.
How Do I Clean Silver Jewelry?
If your silver isn’t tarnished, you can use the same method described above for gold jewelry. If you want to remove the tarnish from a piece of silver jewelry, follow these steps:
- Fill a bowl with two cups of hot water.
- Stir one tablespoon of salt into the water until it has dissolved.
- Place a few strips of aluminum foil into the bowl.
- Submerge your jewelry in the saltwater solution and leave it to soak for about five minutes. If the tarnish is still evident, you may leave the jewelry to soak for longer.
- Rinse the jewelry under cool water, using a strainer to hold small pieces. Plug the sink so jewelry cannot fall down the drain.
- Lay the jewelry on a soft cloth to dry.
Keep in mind that some pieces of silver jewelry have small areas that have been purposely oxidized so that details and engravings will stand out. Cleaning these items may remove some of the oxidation, changing the appearance of the piece.
How Do I Clean Pearls?
Pearl jewelry is very delicate and should be cleaned carefully. You can maintain your pearls by wearing them often and wiping them with a piece of cotton or chamois leather before putting them away. If your pearls need a more thorough cleaning, you can do the following:
- Dampen a soft cotton cloth and gently wipe each pearl.
- If the pearls still appear dirty, you may dip the cloth in a bowl of warm water with a few drops of gentle dishwashing soap mixed in and carefully wipe each pearl again.
- Remove any residual soap by wiping the pearls with a cotton cloth dampened in clean water.
- Gently dry each pearl with a dry cotton cloth.
- Lay the pearl jewelry on a soft cloth to dry completely before storing your pearls again.
You should never submerge pearl necklaces or bracelets in water, as this can weaken the silk thread holding your pearls in place. Pearls have a natural coating called nacre that can rub off if you use abrasive cleaners, so you should always treat this type of jewelry with care.
How Do I Clean Gemstones?
Gemstones add color and sparkle to your jewelry, but they require regular care to keep them looking their best. You can clean hard gemstones such as diamonds, sapphires, rubies, and emeralds using this method:
- Fill a bowl with seltzer water and stir in a few drops of mild dish soap.
- Place your gemstone jewelry in the bowl and let it soak for 10 to 20 minutes.
- Remove the jewelry and clean it gently with a soft toothbrush.
- Rinse in lukewarm water. Plug the drain and use a strainer to protect small pieces.
- Gently buff the jewelry with a soft cotton cloth.
- Lay your gemstone jewelry on a clean cloth to dry.
Do not submerge soft or porous gemstones in water. This includes amber, turquoise, moonstone, kyanite, and calcite. Take your gemstone pieces to a jeweler for identification if you’re uncertain about what you have.
How Do I Clean Costume Jewelry?
Costume jewelry is extremely delicate. These pieces often have a very thin gold or silver coating that you can rub off with a regular toothbrush. Costume jewelry is also more likely to scratch, dent, or break. To clean costume pieces, use this method:
- Mix warm water and baby shampoo in a bowl.
- Dip a soft microfiber cloth in the water and gently wipe the jewelry.
- Clean engravings or cracks with a cotton swab.
- Rinse the jewelry in lukewarm water over a strainer.
- Lay your costume jewelry on a soft, clean cloth to dry.
When Should I Take My Jewelry to a Professional for Cleaning?
A professional jewelry cleaning service is always the best option when you want to protect your important pieces. While the above methods are generally safe, each piece is unique, and some items are more delicate than others. Only a trained eye can positively determine the best method for restoring tarnished or dirty jewelry.
As a general rule of thumb, you should have all precious jewelry cleaned professionally once a year. You should clean the pieces that you wear often, such as wedding rings, once every six months. This will help your jewelry retain its sparkle and shine. In between cleanings, you should remove all jewelry when you’re showering. Take off rings and bracelets when washing your hands, washing dishes, or otherwise getting your hands dirty.
Proper care will help ensure that your jewelry pieces retain their brilliance long into the future. If you’re ever unsure about how to care for your jewelry, contact one of our experienced jewelers at AaLAND Diamond Jewelers. We can recommend the right products and services for any item in your collection.